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Awana Lifeline Prison Ministry Featured in USA TODAY This Weekend

Contact: David Bunker, Media Relations Manager, Awana, 630-540-4695, mediarelations@awana.org

STREAMWOOD, Ill., June 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- Unprecedented national media attention is focusing on a fairly new initiative for the children's ministry giant, Awana, which is celebrating 60 years in ministry. Awana® Lifeline™ prison ministry, only recently established in 2004, was prominently featured in both the print and online editions of the nationwide publication USA Today on June 18.

Lifeline is touching people's hearts through its ground-breaking prison programs Returning Hearts Celebration™ and Malachi Dads™. Returning Hearts Celebration is a carnival-style event that allows day-long interaction between inmate fathers and children. Inmates have the opportunity to reconcile with children they may not have seen for years. First started at maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, the event is now happening at prisons around the country.

Malachi Dads is a yearlong program that trains and equips inmates to become better fathers and spiritual leaders to their children. This year, 119 men graduated from the program at Angola. Additional inmates participated in Malachi Dads at other prisons.

The National Fatherhood Initiative has been instrumental in providing some of the curriculum for Malachi Dads through its InsideOut Dad™ Christian program. Rev. Greg Austen, senior director of Corrections Programming, sees God's hand at work.

"It's kind of a wave that people need to catch right now," Rev. Austen said. "God has really touched it, and it's central to His heart. It's about the transformation of men."

About Awana Lifeline prison ministry
Awana Lifeline has expanded to 17 other prisons and jails across the U.S and plans to add 11 more in the next three months. Awana Lifeline provides an easily replicated model that churches can use to bring Returning Hearts Celebration or Malachi Dads to local prisons or jails. The Awana Lifeline Training Kit, available in mid-July, provides an easy-to-follow plan.

Awana Lifeline helps keep the children of inmates from following their fathers to prison by encouraging an ongoing connection with their incarcerated dads who have become Christians. Through restored relationships, fathers can speak into their children's lives and positively impact the choices they make. For every child that chooses not to commit a crime, there is one less victim of crime.

About Awana
Awana equips churches and parents to work together in developing children and youth who faithfully follow Jesus Christ. In 2010 Awana celebrates 60 years of ministry that today reaches 1.5 million kids in over 100 countries each week. Awana is the only organization with integrated, Bible-based programs for ages 2 to 18 that actively involve parents, churches and mentors.

Contact Awana
For more information about Awana and the Lifeline prison ministry or to set up interviews, contact Media Relations Manager David Bunker at (630) 540-4695 or mediarelations@awana.org.